Mental Health and Time
When I was a kid, the movie Back to the Future came to theaters. I was enthralled by the time-traveling DeLorean and the concept of time travel. I would imagine going back in time and consider what that would mean for history, wanting to right some of the wrongs of history. As I have grown and matured, I realize that meddling with time might actually be a bad idea. Who’s to say that I would not trigger worse things than I was trying to fix? I think the reality is that I have grown more and more aware of my lack of control over my movement into time, namely, what is tomorrow going to bring? Will it be good or bad? What part do I have in that outcome?
Do you want to know the future? Many do. I read an article last week about Wall Street traders in New York City meeting with psychics in an attempt to peer into the future. The article reported that during the pandemic brought on by the Covid-19 virus, that the demand for online psychics increased across the country. There is even a psychic shop that recently opened in downtown Rochester. Why? People are anxious about the future and what it holds. Psychic readings are seen as a way to have some control over one’s destiny.
Jesus, the eternally-Begotten Son of God, entered into time when he was born of the virgin Mary. He experienced the same passage through time and the temptation to worry about what tomorrow holds. He knew the pangs of hunger, the uncomfortableness of homelessness, and the mistreatment by his fellowman. Yet, in all of it he did not lose his mind to worry or anxiety.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addressed anxiety and worry in this way: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Mt 6:25–34 ESV)
Don’t get me wrong. Jesus understood the causes of worry and anxiety. He walked on this sin-soiled planet and experienced all the pain and heartache of it. He knew that his creation was groaning to be delivered from it. He himself was the Savior and the solution to all of it. While we are here on Earth, we will go through struggles. We will face evil. But, as believers in Jesus, we know that we will never be alone in it. He will rescue us and bring us safely through this anxiety-riddled time into eternity with Him in heaven. There, we will worry and experience anxiety no more.
See you next time, here at the corner of faith and mental health.
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Chad Wright